Volunteer crime watch guards village

JON HOUZET

IN response to a steady increase in crime over holiday periods, Cannon Rocks residents have set up a crime watch programme, made up of volunteers who patrol the small coastal village every night.

The initiative was started by international musician Cedric Vandenschrik, who said he was “tired of hearing people complaining and doing nothing about it”.

He said he also was motivated by an attempted burglary at his house while he was home.

GOOD NEIGHBOURS: Some of the members of a volunteer crime watch in Cannon Rocks are, (from left, standing) Pierre Rousseau, Hudson Cummings, Christo Zietsman and (kneeling) Robert Rousseau and Cedric Vandenschrik

“We have found that criminals are favouring breaking into houses where there are people as they are guaranteed the presence of valuable portable goods,” said Vandenschrik.

“They also always seem to be armed with some kind of weapon, like a knife or screwdriver,” he added.

“At the beginning of the year my neighbour Tony Pfister (who is on the crime watch) was attacked in his house. He and his wife were tied up and beaten.”

Vandenschrik approached Pierre Rousseau of the Cannon Rocks Ratepayers Association about starting a crime watch.

“He had been battling to get something off the ground and we just decided to ‘do it’. People got phoned and things have snowballed.”

The crime watch was launched on December 8 and currently has 19 volunteers.

They take shifts with two volunteers on duty every night, patrolling the village and looking out for suspicious activity.

They keep contact with Hi-Tec, the local security company, and communicate with cellphones. Vandenschrik said they had also set up a WhatsApp cross-platform mobile messaging group.

If they encounter a dangerous situation, Vandenschrik said they would first notify Hi-Tec and then the police.

“Should there be an emergency we have a call system by which withinfiveminutes all 19 volunteers would be notified and be on the streets.”

Vandenschrik estimated only 30% of the homes in Cannon Rocks are occupied by permanent residents, as most are holiday homes.

He said at present the crime watch was just active over the holidays, but they were looking at extending it throughout the year.

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